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UBC Theses and Dissertations

One parent families : their housing needs Hood, Nancy E.


The work began as a response to a question put forth by a person involved with housing for single parents, "What is the best kind of housing for one parent families?" In answer to this question the accommodation requirements of this group must be explored. The purpose of this thesis is to delineate these needs and to suggest ways in which these housing needs should be met. The Canadian work on single parents (Canadian Council on Social Development, 1972; Guyatt, 1972; Schlesinger, 1975) does not focus specifically on housing but does identify it as a problem or issue for the single parent group. In keeping with the methodologies of the first two studies cited, a survey of organizations which serve one parent families was conducted. In addition two case studies of housing projects in the Vancouver-Victoria area, the YWCA Group Homes and the Bishop Cridge Xejntre for jthe_jFjrm£ly^ formed part of the research design. Findings were obtained through questionnaires, interviews and group meetings. Some of the encounters were video-taped to be used later in feeding back the results to the study participants. Through these feedback sessions and analysis of the findings of a literature review, the survey of organizations and the two case studies, a number of conclusions were drawn. These conclusions about the housing needs of one parent families were presented in terms of four issues which repeatedly emerged in the research: Income Discrimination Isolation versus Integration Childcare and Support Services. Insufficient income was found to be the greatest housing problem for the one parent family. A universal income maintenance scheme would ameliorate this problem with the fewest possible distasteful side affects for the client group. However, if this is not feasible alternate schemes for single parent families are suggested. Discrimination because they are parents on their own and because they have children was also a great concern. Landlord rejection because of single parent status can be discouraged by bringing such injustices to the attention of the Human Rights Commission. The real answer to this problem however lies in a societal change in attitude towards single parenthood. Isolation versus Integration refers to the controversy about housing designed especially for a client group or housing people unidentifiably within the context of the rest of the community. It was found that both approaches not either alone, are required to meet the divergent needs of one parent families. An integrated approach to the delivery of services for single parent families is required with both patterns of housing. Co-ordination would ensure that through the private and public sectors a system of services from crisis or transition shelters to housing subsidies would be available. Childcare and support services are the second greatest need expressed by the single parent. Both of these services permit the parent to gain independence. The integration of these into the residential environment would achieve this in the most efficient way possible. Suggestions regarding the funding and the location of service facilities are also proffered. All of these issues have been discussed elsewhere. What is significant is that these issues are identified as housing needs. These issues are inextricably linked in the minds of the single parents who must make decisions about housing. This interrelationship points to the holistic approach necessary in the delivery of housing services to one parent families.

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